Movie Review: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

Image copyrighted by Lionsgate

I’m sure you guys were dying to hear my thoughts on this movie, and I appreciate your patience! I was out of town for a business trip, but it sure feels good to blog. I’ve almost reached 20,000 overall views, so I’m psyched to meet that milestone!

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” was released in limited theaters September 21, but more theaters have added the film to their line-up over time. Fortunately, it was directed, produced, and written by author Stephen Chbosky, so even if the movie’s not your cup of tea, at least Chbosky was in control of the creative process.

I was originally interested in the story because I was curious to see Emma Watson play someone other than Hermione Granger. She acted excellently as Sam, a misfit high school senior who suffers from a scandalous reputation. The film’s star Charlie (played by Logan Lerman) falls in love with Sam as he struggles with the deaths of his aunt and best friend. For a more complete summary of the novel, read my review here.

Moviegoers will recognize familiar faces, such as Paul Rudd, who plays Charlie’s supportive English teacher Mr. Anderson (known as Bill in the book). Kate Walsh, Dylan McDermott, and Melanie Lynskey play Charlie’s mother, father, and aunt, respectively.

But the real star, in my opinion, was Ezra Miller, who plays Sam’s step-brother Patrick. This role puts this relatively unknown 20-year-old actor in the spotlight, as his character faces hate and heartbreak after falling in love with the school’s quarterback. On the surface, he’s a witty wisecrack performing in Rocky Horror, but underneath he emotes the pain of a boy who just wants to be accepted for who he is. Miller has been open about his own queer identity with the press, and it’s nice to see this conversation about equality both on and off-screen.

My complaints about Charlie’s grating personality in the novel aren’t present in the film; because you’re not stuck in his head 24-7, you can better appreciate his emotional journey. I felt that the distance which usually creates a disconnect between mediums actually made the film more enjoyable than the book.

Granted, it is an “indie” character-driven story, full of teen angst and controversial social issues, so if you’d rather watch an action-packed thriller, I highly recommend “Looper” with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. But if you want to witness some great acting from Hollywood’s rising stars and sink into the nostalgia of your youth, “Perks” has just enough–you guessed it, perks–to keep you entertained.

8 thoughts on “Movie Review: “The Perks of Being a Wallflower”

  1. Hi Book Club Babe!
    Fantastic review. I am dying to see this movie. Sorry to post this on here, but I couldn’t find any contact info and I wanted to get in touch. I would love to send you an advance review copy of my upcoming release – my second novel. All my contact info will probably be visible to you, but if not, you can find me on Facebook (Libby Mercer, Author) and I’ll give you the details. Thanks so much! Hope to hear from you.

    • Hi Libby,

      I appreciate your interest in my blog as a platform to promote your upcoming novel. I’m currently in the process of creating my review policy, so once that’s completed, you’ll be able to contact me with more information. Thanks!

  2. Excellent review of the movie, I felt like I was there. I was impressed how well the sense of adolescent angst and confusion was portrayed (this generation’s “Breakfast Club” without the laughs?) The melancholy of the film is an ever present weight. The characters are “broken” individuals, and they never get any sense of comfort or relief (no “Hollywood” happy endings here).

    Pittsburg is portrayed spot on. It is cold, empty, dark, and frequently snow covered. An endless winter with little chance of escape. A great film, but emotionally draining. It will be a while until I watch it again, but I will watch it again. I’m looking forward to reading the book. Thanks for all your great recommendations, keep up the good work.

    • Yes, I think the “Breakfast Club” comparison is a popular one, and I agree with your comments about the film being melancholic and emotionally draining. Although I felt the movie better portrayed the characters’ broken personalities, you’ll most likely enjoy the book as well. Thanks for your thoughts!

  3. Pingback: My 2012 Recap! « Book Club Babe

  4. It is interesting that Logan Lerman is starring in the WWII movie Fury, since he is Jewish and both sides of his family were persecuted by the Nazis for being Jewish.

  5. Pingback: Movie Review: “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” | Book Club Babe

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